Fame changes people’s lives, for the worse. We have all heard similar lines throughout our lives, and we accept them as truths, but we also assume our respective friends are immune to such superficiality. I want success, and I want money, and these two desires, when attained, usually breed fame. It is a necessary evil, an elusive consequence that is bred from the insecurities of the unfamous.
We created fame because people like to be around a perceived higher status than their own. We want to feel famous, be in its orbit, even if it’s by having a short conversation with or by getting an autograph from or making a passing glance at a famous person. It doesn’t matter who becomes famous, as long as someone is. We want someone else to hold above ourselves. The queen saves England, whether we admit it or not.
I grew up in Corona, just outside of Anaheim but still too close to Los Angeles. The aspiration of fame was ingrained in us, maybe genetically, definitely environmentally, or at least mentally. But no reasons were given or understood.
The question needs to be, Do you want to act, or do you want to be an actor?
I believed for a while that the only famous people I would care about meeting in public are magicians. I’m not going to ask David Robinson to go dunk something for me, or get David Duchovny to sing me his best song, although I’d love to see David Blaine make the jack of hearts appear in my pocket.
But then I ran into you in a Halifax bookstore, where you asked me if I worked there and if I could help you find a book. I was not as helpful as I could have been, mainly because you’re the most famous person I’d ever seen in real life, and on some level I doubted you were real. Now this encounter only made an already great day a little more surreal, but I’ve told a lot of people that I saw you there, and I don’t really know why. I’ll likely continue to tell people if a trigger to the story comes up naturally, and they’ll be legitimately interested, for whatever reason.
Your life must be a series of these moments. People too flustered to speak to you like a normal person, which of course is all you want to be in situations like this – it’s not a red carpet or anything. This temporary normalcy is probably why you go to small bookstores like this one, to get away from a flurry of fame-aware people. All you wanted was a book, but my friends and I were too wrapped up in the fact that you act for a living, that you portrayed a fictional spy, to actually help you, which we should have been able to.
I apologize for not being able to hold it together and treat you like a human in that moment. All you wanted was a book…